Ten top high school mock trial teams participated in the 4th annual NorCal Mock Trial Tournament, hosted by Menlo School, on the weekend of Jan 11-12, 2014. This year's tournament featured six of the eight State Championship attendees in 2013, as NorCal is the only major tournament in California to include a methodology for pre-seeding, complete scoring, and tournament awards for all positions (including courtroom artist).
Each year, the Constitutional Rights Foundation releases a unique case that each participating school studies and ultimately performs in competition. This year’s case is ‘People vs. Concha,’ and the defendant, senior Rae Concha, faces two felony counts: second degree murder for the death of friend and classmate Jason Johnson, as well as possession for sale of a controlled substance (Adderall). The pretrial matter regards the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and its protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Last weekend’s competition displayed immense talents on all fronts, as each team demonstrated a clear understanding of the case, as well as very convincing performances by witnesses and attorneys alike.
Tamalpais High School out of Mill Valley finished first in the tournament, with Elk Grove High School placing second, Trinity High School coming in third, and Menlo School finishing in fourth place. Senior co-captain Kate Park said, “this year’s tournament was a great learning experience and opportunity to find out what works and doesn’t work in [Menlo Mock Trial’s] material. In just two days, we grew so much—both as individuals and as a team—and that is exactly what the NorCal tournament is about.” The other captain for Menlo’s varsity team, Christina Wadsworth, felt that Menlo’s performance in the tournament, “showed promising signs for a dominant team at State this year. The rounds [Menlo] lost were close, and [Wadsworth] is proud of how the team is handling the amount of work [they] have to do before the county tournament in January.”
While Menlo did not win the 2014 NorCal tournament, many Menlo attorneys and witnesses took home individual accolades, as Park and Wadsworth won the award for best overall prosecution and defense attorneys, respectively. Menlo witnesses Mackenzie Bressie, JB Horsley, Chris Crouch, and Jacob Julian-Kwong each won individual awards for their performances as witnesses on Saturday, while Allie Miller was named as 3rd best pretrial lawyer in the tournament. Menlo faces another challenge this weekend in Santa Barbara, as they prepare for a tournament against another group of strong Mock Trial teams.